XXVIII. Teamwork

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Dai rejoined his friends, who congratulated him enormously.
"When you just moved and tripped her, that was crazy!!!" Luke was shaking him excitedly, "You were great!!"
Dai blushed, flattered, "L-Look, it wasn't that big a deal, you guys-"
"When you saved Max by distracting the other girl like that," Kai pointed out, "Badass."
"Very!" Aria agreed.
While Dai was getting swarmed with praise, Flora Lawson continued on with announcing the next battle.

"The second battle will be..." she paused impressively, "Raina Fray and Melany Topal versus Ezekiel Nunez and Mari Azeri!"

Raina stood up and stretched, "My time has come, I guess."
"Good luck, girl!" Aria encouraged.
Raina just gave a slight nod and made her way out onto the sand. She didn't meet up with Melany until they both got to the center.
"Hey," Raina huffed, trying to avoid awkward confrontation.
"Hello," Melany said curtly.

The two girls stood side by side silently as their opponents came up and faced them.
Lena and the others watched with anticipation.
"Melany's good... right?" Kai asked.
"She was the one who showed Hunter everything he knows," Aria explained, "At least, that's what Lena says."
Lena just sighed, and remembered the apology Melany gave her two days ago.
She sat on the bench, her hands cupped together, contemplating it.

"Begin!" Lawson's voice boomed through the mic.

Immediately, Raina jumped forward and threw multiple fireballs.
Ezekiel teleported out of the way with his lightning, while Mari just used air currents to knock the fireballs directed at her out of the way.

Melany grunted in annoyance at Raina's abrasiveness, but didn't have long to think about it, for Ezekiel had teleported behind her and launched a barrage of lightning towards her.
She stomped on the ground and a massive leaf shield grew up and blocked the attack enough for Melany to move out from behind it. She formed two vine whips in her hands and swung them towards the lightning Gifted. They coiled around his wrists, forcing him to stop his attack as they were restrained.
Before Melany could do anything, however, he grabbed the whips and yanked her over to him.
She landed on the ground, grunting in surprise and slight pain.
The vines wilted away and Ezekiel stepped forward, zapping short attacks of lightning down at her.
Melany rolled on the sand out of the way of each, jumping and running to avoid the rest.

While she was dealing with him, Raina and Mari were having a difficult time. Both were flying in the air now, and no matter what fire attack Raina threw, or how close she got, the attacks (and herself) were continuously blown back by a push of air.
Raina leaned forward and blew fire out of her mouth, a massive barrage of pink flame barreling toward the air Gifted.
Mari simply raised out one arm and thrusted air forward, making the fire spread in all directions except towards her.
Raina stopped after a brief moment, incredibly irritated.
"I hate fighting air," she muttered to herself, and she flew forward once again. Mari thrusted both arms forward now, and the sudden rush of air knocked Raina back, making her twirl in the air over and over before finally catching herself midair.

She grunted in annoyance and looked up at the air Gifted, who just winked at her.
Gritting her teeth fiercely, she charged at her again, only to be blown away yet again, this time, Raina was pushed into the sand, making a small crater where she lie.
Melany ran over to her and raised two massive leaf shields to protect them from both Ezekiel's lightning attacks and Mari's pushes of air.

"This isn't working," Melany said, as she strained to keep her arms up, feeding energy to the leaves so they would stay up no matter what.
"Well, then what do you suggest?" Raina asked sarcastically.
Melany paused, "What if we switched? Rushed at each other's opponents? They'd practically be ambushed and confused."
"Fine," Raina said quickly, "Drop these things on the count of three."
The leaf shields wilted away, and Raina and Melany ran very quickly in opposite directions, the blonde towards Ezekiel, and the brunette towards Mari.

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